John 1:14-17 NIV
14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
The word “grace” simply means “unmerited favor” — favor that one receives which is undeserved and unearned. The idea of grace being “free” means that it became available to us without cost to us (Ephesians 2:8).
However, it does not mean it was without cost at all, for it cost God plenty to offer it to us without charge (Romans 5:8). Grace is indeed priceless, but Someone else paid the price because we couldn’t afford it.
Believe it or not, Grace is Costly Because it Calls Us To Follow Jesus. We are permitted the privilege of choosing the way of grace and become disciples of Jesus. To be a disciple means to follow after the Teacher. Of course, while we are given this opportunity by grace, we cannot follow through and take advantage of it without cost.
To follow Jesus, means to put His kingdom and righteousness first (Matthew 6:33). The cost of discipleship means that we must put other things second, third, etc. Another cost associated with discipleship is picking up and bearing a cross of self-denial (Matthew 16:24). We cannot be His disciple if we refuse to do this. We cannot be Jesus’ disciple if we insist on speaking bitterly against and reviling those who have reviled us. Now that is a heavy cost of discipleship because when someone speaks ill of us wouldn’t we love to reply in kind?
But Peter states:
21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
We need to understand that it is a privilege without cost to us to be able to become disciples of Christ. We do not deserve the opportunity of being called His people, but when we choose to walk after Him, there will be costs to faithful discipleship. For that reason, He told us to calculate the cost (Luke 14:25-30).
We immediately think of how Jesus gave His life for our sins so that grace could be freely offered by a righteous God to sinners. But to receive grace, we must be willing to give our lives to the Lord as well.
There is more than one way to “give one’s life” for a cause. Not only can we give our lives by “dying” for a cause, we can also give our lives by “living” for a cause as well. If one truly follows Christ as His disciple, there will be a life given to Him.
25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
God’s grace means we are saved without regard to our deeds, because His grace is freely offered. However, Jesus says we must give our lives to Him, and this “giving” will effect the deeds we do, and how we are recompensed on that last day.
In Romans 6:1-8, Paul likens one giving his or her life to the Lord as a death of one life and the beginning of a new life. The old person is figuratively crucified (the old way of sin is repented of) so that when one is raised up with Christ from baptism he or she might begin to walk “in newness of life” (Acts 8:36-39).
But let’s remember that not only is life given, but life is also received. Jesus calls it an “abundant life” (John 10:10). Everyone who gives, always receives much more (Proverbs 11:24). This life is a gift in that it is offered to us freely, but we must be “in Christ” to receive it — “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
Contrary to what some believe, grace does not make sinful acts not sinful. Grace is not a license to sin (Romans 6:1). We cannot sin under God’s grace and be counted as righteous. Some apparently have the idea that God no longer views their sin to be sin because they are under grace.
My fellow believers, grace justifies sinners — not their sins! Grace does not make lying, adultery, or greediness any less sinful. What it does freely offer is conditional forgiveness. All have sinned (Romans 3:23) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). While grace brings the potential for forgiveness to those under this sentence of death, we must continue in the grace of God (Acts 13:43), “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts” (Titus 2:11-13).
Grace is indeed free, but it is not unconditional. If it were, then everyone would be saved. But it is conditioned upon our response to it. In the Bible, our response to God’s grace is called “faith” (Romans 10:17). This is why we are said to be “saved by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).
Let us praise God each day for the gift of His wonderful grace, and let us properly respond to it by being obedient to His will. Amen.
Scripture of the day: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”~ (Romans 5:8)
Pastor Peter Okereke Jr.
The Living Word Ministries Inc.
Copyright Reserved, 2012.
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